- Morgaon: Moreshwar (Mayureshwar) – Lord Ganapati, riding on a peacock (Mayureshwar), is believed to have defeated the asura Sindhu here.
- Siddhitek: Siddhivinayak – Lord Vishnu vanquished the asuras Madhu and Kaitabh after propitiating Vinayaka at this temple site.
- Ozhar: Vighneshwar –Lord Ganesha defeated the asura Vighnasur at this place and in response to his plea that his name be added before that of the Lord, the Deity here is called Vighnahar or Vighneshwar.
- Ranjhangaon: Mahaganapati – Lord Shiva is believed to have worshipped Ganesha here before fighting the asura Tripurasur.
Worshipping Ganesha as Ashtavinayaks
Among the yatras or pilgrimage circuits, which our ancestors had established, the most famous is the Char Dham yatra (Badrinath, Puri, Dwarka and Rameshwaram). But there are many other smaller and shorter yatras comprising of several temples that are region specific or Deity-specific. One of them is the Ashtavinayak Yatra of Maharashtra, which involves the yatra of eight ancient Ganesha temples. Situated in villages and mountain tops around Pune in Maharashtra, these are at Morgaon (Moreshwar/Mayureshwar), Siddhatek (Siddhivinayak), Pali (Ballaleshwar), Mahad (Varadavinayak), Theur (Chintamani), Lenyadri (Girijatmaj), Ozhar (Vighneshwar) and Ranjangaon (Mahaganapati). The devout follow a traditional sequence, starting at Morgaon and returning there at the end after visiting the other seven temples in the order given above. However, due to constraints of time and resources, many just follow their own itinerary. Disclaimer: I have written this post with inputs from the internet, as well as personal descriptions from the younger son Vineet and his wife Swati, who undertake this yatra every year. Lord Ganesha, known by myriad names, has countless temples across the country. Worshipped by Hindus as the Primary Deity at the beginning of any puja or when starting a new venture, journey or undertaking any important work. While temples dedicated to other Deities are lavish and grand with exquisite finery adorning the Deity, Ganesha resides in the most humble of places, even under a peepal tree, satisfied with a few blades of the durva grass, to bless His devotees! Maharashtra has many famous temples dedicated to Ganapati and He is a beloved Deity of the masses, being addressed endearingly as Ganpati Bappa. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with great devotion and fervour, both in homes and in community installations. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Ashtavinayak yatra is quite popular among the people of the state. The mention of the Ashtavinayak temples can be found in Ganesha Purana and Mudgala Purana, an upapurana of Ganesha Purana. The legends of several of the temples in this yatra mention one or the other of the asuras being vanquished by either Ganesha Himself or by Shiva or Vishnu, the latter two having prayed to Ganesha at these places. I am giving a brief history, particularly of these temples. For detailed descriptions as well as for the legends associated with all the eight Ashtavinayak temples, please refer to the links here and here.